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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e26331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026331. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Effects of sorafenib on intra-tumoral interstitial fluid pressure and circulating biomarkers in patients with refractory sarcomas (NCI protocol 6948).

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



Sorafenib is a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor with therapeutic efficacy in several malignancies. Sorafenib may exert its anti-neoplastic effect in part by altering vascular permeability and reducing intra-tumoral interstitial hypertension. As correlative science with a phase II study in patients with advanced soft-tissue sarcomas (STS), we evaluated the impact of this agent on intra-tumor interstitial fluid pressure (IFP), serum circulating biomarkers, and vascular density.


Patients with advanced STS with measurable disease and at least one superficial lesion amenable to biopsy received sorafenib 400 mg twice daily. Intratumoral IFP and plasma and circulating cell biomarkers were measured before and after 1-2 months of sorafenib administration. Results were analyzed in the context of the primary clinical endpoint of time-to-progression (TTP).


In 15 patients accrued, the median TTP was 45 days (range 14-228). Intra-tumoral IFP measurements obtained in 6 patients at baseline showed a direct correlation with tumor size. Two patients with stable disease at two months had post-sorafenib IFP evaluations and demonstrated a decline in IFP and vascular density. Sorafenib significantly increased plasma VEGF, PlGF, and SDF1α and decreased sVEGFR-2 levels. Increased plasma SDF1α and decreased sVEGFR-2 levels on day 28 correlated with disease progression.


Pretreatment intra-tumoral IFP correlated with tumor size and decreased in two evaluable patients with SD on sorafenib. Sorafenib also induced changes in circulating biomarkers consistent with expected VEGF pathway blockade, despite the lack of more striking clinical activity in this small series.


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